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Jets Will Stick to Their 'Play Sheet' on Draft Weekend

Phil Savage: We’ve Made a Lot of Our Decisions Before Draft Weekend

A general view of the NFL Draft stage on Wednesday, April 24, 2024 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

In a little more than 24 hours, the Jets will embark upon the 2024 NFL Draft. Phil Savage, in his fifth season as the team's senior football advisor, says GM Joe Douglas will stick to his script from the Jets' first selection until the team is scheduled to close out the league's selection proceedings with the final pick in the draft, Mr. Irrelevant (Rd. 7, No. 257) early Saturday evening.

"We really try to put it on paper and stay true to it because as Joe D. calls it, it's our play sheet," Savage said. "The coaches would never go into a game and just try to wing it — they're going to have a play sheet. And this is our play sheet. We've tried to simplify it. Going back 25 years to my days with the Ravens, we just tried to narrow it down so on draft weekend, it would be a calm draft room and one that we've done all our homework and we've already made a lot of our decisions before we get to the draft weekend. So once the clock starts, we're ready to turn a name in or at least move down and say okay we'll turn in another name here in 15 or 20 more minutes."

The countdown is on for the Jets and the league's 31 other clubs. The final preparations at 1JD included administrative meetings and strategy sessions.

"We'll have our final medical meetings in terms of whether the players are healthy, what the expectations would be when they come to us in the next couple of weeks, what's their forecast for training camp if they're coming off an injury as an example," Savage said. "Then our security background, those are all finalized in terms of if anything has propped up this spring or anything was discovered on a player that maybe we missed during the fall. So, those are sort of the administrative pieces of it.

"Then of course with the player rankings and what I call the strategy, the game plan. We go through that quite in bit in terms of which players would we move up for. And if there are a handful of players at 10, would we consider moving back? How far back would we go? What's the range of movement that we're willing to operate within say at the 10th pick?"

An old-school scout at heart, Savage, who served as the senior vice president and general manager for the Browns in 2005-08 and was the Reese's Senior Bowl executive director from 2012-18, compared the pre-draft discussions to courthouse legal presentations.

"I love the meetings," he said. "I love the evaluation meetings when we're reading our reports and going through where they should be ranked on our vertical list. I'm obviously not an attorney and didn't go to law school, but at times you're trying to fight for a player and then at other times you're trying to defend that player and at other times, you're trying to prosecute a player to try to get him down. So, I love the give and take amongst the scouts and between the coaches and the scouts and sometimes we all see it the same way and other times there's a lot of diversity of opinions so to speak. But I really enjoy that week of meetings both in February and in early April."

With evaluations complete, Douglas will grab his play sheet and be prepared for every scenario.

"I talk a little bit sometimes about how the evaluation of the players is one piece of this, but the actual selection of the players is the other part and that's really what last week and this week is all about," Savage said. "The actual strategy of how we're going to get into position to get some of the players that we really want."

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